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Cheap Vegan Meals the Whole Family Will Love

Parents are always working to keep their kids happy and healthy, and as they learn about the shocking health risks of eating meat, eggs, and dairy (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more), they’re choosing vegan meals for their families. And although rising food costs can make it a struggle to keep grocery bills under budget, you can keep your family full and happy with these five cheap vegan meals!

1. Hearty Vegan Chili


a bowl of vegan chili on a table

Beans are versatile, rich in protein, and a cost-effective source of essential nutrients. Your family will love this delicious vegan chili.


2 Tbsp. oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chopped white onion, plus more for garnish

1 lb. defrosted veggie burger crumbles (optional)

Red pepper flakes, to taste

1 Tbsp. chili powder

2 1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. oregano

1 bay leaf

1 28-oz. can diced Mexican-style tomatoes

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

6 oz. tomato paste

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 16-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 28-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Vegan cheese (optional)

Cilantro for garnish (optional)


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the veggie burger crumbles (if using), red pepper flakes, chili powder, and cumin and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  • Add the oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes, soy sauce, stock, tomato paste, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the beans and simmer 15 minutes longer to heat through and blend flavors.
  • Add more water, if necessary, or cook longer to reach the desired consistency.
  • Top with shredded vegan cheese and cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

2. Vegan Macro Bowl

a vegan macro bowl made with tofu, broccoli, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and carrots on a table. There is a glass of orange juice next to the bowl

Tofu is protein-rich, healthy, and easy to prepare. Brown rice is also a healthy and budget-friendly staple for any pantry and provides lots of fiber. This recipe is packed full of delicious, nutritious ingredients that will keep you and your family feeling good and is easy to customize for everyone at the table.


1/2 lb. extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Pinch basil

Pinch oregano

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 Tbsp. miso paste

1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into florets and steamed

1/2 cooked sweet potato, diced

1 large carrot, shredded

1 tsp. sauerkraut

1 tsp. pickled ginger (optional)


  • Combine the tofu, olive oil, soy sauce, basil, and oregano in a pan and cook on medium heat until the tofu is browned.
  • Mix the cooked brown rice and miso paste together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the tofu mixture, broccoli, sweet potato, carrot, sauerkraut, and pickled ginger and enjoy.

Makes 2 servings

3. Kale Protein Smoothie

two green kale smoothies with striped red and white straws

Bananas are one of the cheapest fruits on the market, so pair a frozen one with kale for a delicious and sweet way for even the most veggie-resistant kids to enjoy their greens.


2 cups chopped red kale, center stems removed

2 cups nondairy milk

1 pear, cored and diced

1 frozen banana, sliced

6 oz. soft silken tofu

2 Tbsp. almond or peanut butter

2 Tbsp. flaxseed oil

1–2 Tbsp. agave nectar or other vegan sweetener

1 scoop vegan vanilla-flavored protein powder


  • Place the kale and nondairy milk in a blender and process until smooth.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and blend until completely smooth.

Makes 2 servings

4. Vegan Deli Sliced Turkey Breast

vegan turkey sliced up on a cutting board86Eats

Making your own vegan meat is easier than you may think and costs less than prepackaged products. Slice this homemade vegan turkey loaf for sandwiches and salads, or serve it to your kids on crackers with vegan cheese.

5. Best Veggie Burger

Nora Cooks veggie burger on a bun with a side of broccoliNora Cooks

Making your own veggie burgers allows you to get more for your money and is super-simple. Packed full of healthy ingredients, they make it easy for your kids to eat their vegetables.

Why Should My Family Eat Vegan?

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “[w]ell-planned vegan … diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence,” so you’ll feel good knowing that the vegan meals you serve can meet all your children’s needs. Children raised as vegans—who consume no animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy—can easily obtain all the nutrients essential for optimum health from plant-based sources.

Tips for Shopping Vegan

When shopping for produce, it’s often most cost-effective to buy frozen fruits and vegetables. The produce is frozen at peak ripeness, and you won’t have to worry that it will go bad quickly. Uncooked beans and other legumes are often cheaper than canned, although they take more time to cook. It may also be helpful to see if your local grocery store has an app that you can download to take advantage of exclusive deals and digital coupons or to rack up rewards points.


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